As pointed out by our sister-site MacRumors and discovered by Patently Apple, Apple has registered a patent application for a new style of home button that pops up and doubles as a joystick. Now, before getting too excited about this, keep in mind Apple (and all other tech companies) are basically filing patents every day for all sorts of crazy things. It seems like a good 99% of these patent applications never amount to anything, but they’re still fun to look at.
So the idea here is that when you want to play a game or do something that uses the magical joystick home button, you’d pop it up and then you’d be able to ever to slightly tilt it around to control whatever it is you’re hoping to control.
There’s a couple problems hampering the real-world feasibility of all this. First off, the home button has already been tasked with Touch ID functionality and with the introduction of Apple Pay, I don’t really see them changing that around. Could this home button joystick also still do Touch ID? I mean, maybe, but it seems like a lot going on for one button. Additionally, it seems like there could be some valid durability concerns particularly when you think how tiny this joystick would have to be compared to how rough gamers can be on their devices.
But, hey, like I mentioned before, these Apple patents are always fun to look at. With what you’ve got to do to protect IP in this country you basically just have to rapid-fire patent applications for even the craziest things you come up with so you can claim ownership over them in the future. Whether Apple actually has plans for this or if someone just said Hey that’s not a bad idea, patent it,… We’ll just have to wait to find out.